Wandering bear tranquilized near NJ elementary school

The bear was just “hanging around" when the drugs took effect. (NBC/WNBC)

RIDGEWOOD, N.J. (NBC/WNBC) — A bear that wandered around a New Jersey town all day Tuesday was finally tranquilized. The bear was just “hanging around” when the drugs took effect. The black bear held on to the tree branch on Lake Avenue. Eventually, the effect of the tranquilizer dart was too much, and the animal fell safely into a net held by emergency responders.

“He’s already wrapped up in the net,” said Carol Tyler, with Animal Control. “There will be no more running today.”

After he was tranquilized, animal control let us get a closer look at the bear — who was seen wandering on Maynard Street starting around 9 a.m. Ridgewood police followed him and finally chased him up a large tree across the street from Ridge Elementary School just before 10 a.m.

“If the bear comes down agitated or injured and presents a threat to the public, we will take measures to keep the public safe,” said Ridgewood Police Chief John Ward.

Recess happened indoors, and half-day kindergarten pickup and dropoff was closely monitored. Dozens of Ridgewood neighbors followed the bear saga from block to block.

“We don’t see this type of stuff in town very often, so yeah, it was exciting to see,” said Brian Crispano.

The Ridgewood Fire Department chased the bear down with water from their powerful hoses, but he wasn’t ready to go back to the woods just yet. He ran up another tree on Clinton and stayed there for almost an hour before being chased down with water again. His last stop: the tree on Lake Avenue, right near the Midland Park border. Animal Control officers finally had a good shot and hit him with a tranquilizer dart. As the drugs set in, he slowly began slipping down from the tree.

“And he had a nice, gentle landing,” said Tyler.

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